Pool & Spa
Pool Pump Problems
Your pool pump is, arguably, the heart of your swimming pool. By keeping the water filtered, clean, and flowing, a pump is what makes swimming a worthwhile and safe experience.
That’s why pool problems can significantly degrade the quality of your swimming pool’s water and overall swimming experience.
Here are some common pool pump problems and how you can troubleshoot them.
5 Pool Pump Problems
1. The Pump Isn't Turning on or Turning off
If you power our pump and it doesn’t start, or it quickly turns itself off a short while after starting, then it's likely having an electrical problem.
Electrical issues are diverse. There could be a loose connection, a voltage overload, a loose capacitor, a jammed motor, or other electrical issues. Most of these faults are relatively easy to identify.
To fix start-related problems, begin by determining the exact problem. You can start at the breaker box to check for blown fuses.
If the fuses are intact, check for any loose connections, especially in the power supply. Loose cords can interrupt the flow of power and prevent the pump from starting.
And if you discover the motor is overheating and shutting the pump down as soon as it’s started, then the circuit is likely overloaded. Ensure your circuit is wired for the proper voltage.
2. The Pump Doesn't Move Water
Your pump may start and run just fine, but fails to move any water. In such cases, there could be an interruption in the pump’s suction capacity or the water flow that drives the system.
Start by checking the skimmer and pump basket and ensure they are empty. If they are not empty, then they may be restricting water flow.
Next, check the pool filter for dirt that could be hindering smooth flow. A dirty filter can interfere with water flow and contribute to inefficiencies in the process.
Once you’ve checked these and the problem persists, proceed to inspect the pump impeller shaft. This part is usually connected to the motor and may experience occasional clogging. You want to ensure it is free to rotate.
In neither of these troubleshooting resolves the issue, then there may be an air leak in the suction line. Such leaks are commonly associated with loss of pump suction.
The ideal solution to this problem is seeking the services of a trusted pool professional or contractor, as accessing these lines and repairing them can be challenging.
3. The Pump is Leaking
In case water is leaking from the pump, the cause can always be traced to the ‘pressure side’. This is the section of the pump located after the impeller.
That’s because everything located before the impeller is typically under negative (suction) pressure, and not the positive pressure that drives water to leak out of the pump.
Begin by checking the impeller housing O-rings, which connect the pump to a complementary plumbing system. A bad shaft seal, shrunken threads on the plumbing discharge pipe, or a bad thread sealant could also be contributing to the leaks.
When you confirm the issue is originating from the seal or O-ring, it’s best to replace these parts while at it. Such replacements are quick and easy if you are comfortable and confident in taking the pump apart.
Most of the popular pump models have their rebuild kits readily available. Suck kits have all the necessary replacement O-rings and seals included. Check your pump model before grabbing one.
4. The Pump is Making a Loud Noise
Nobody wants to be running a constantly noisy pool pump. The loudness can get pretty uncomfortable for you and your neighbors, and possibly ruin good swimming experiences.
When your pump runs unusually loudly, start by identifying the kind of sound it is producing. If it’s making a rattling sound like there are some rocks in it, then the pump may be vibrating on its base or resting pad.
You can halt this jerky movement and resultant noise by placing repositioning the pump to ensure its entire base is resting on a stable surface. Another effective remedy is placing a rubber mat beneath the pump to absorb vibrations and reduce noise.
In case the pump is producing a banging noise, this could be a case of cavitation, an issue that occurs when the pump operates without water. In such cases, the impeller could be rotating too fast, removing air molecules from water to create a banging noise.
Proceed to check the filter and impeller for clogging and also ensure that the pump has been sized appropriately. Installing an oversized pump can accelerate cavitation.
5. The Pump is Sucking in Air
Since the primary role of pool pumps is to pull water, they are supposed to be airtight. But since air has less mass, it can move more easily than water, and the pump can accelerate such movement.
Small and large air leaks in the pump’s system, especially on the suction’s side, can cause a circulation problem, which can impede the pump’s priming capacity.
Common causes of air leaks include poor thread sealing at the point the pipe enters the pump, punctured or broken plumbing, a poorly-fitted pump lid, a loose drain plug, leaking valves, and other similar issues.
You can easily identify possible leaks, especially those linked to mechanical seals, by checking under the pump for traces of moisture when the unit is running. Slater pumps are effective in addressing this issue.
Signs Your Pool Pump is Going Bad
1. Low Pressure on the Filter Gauge
A low reading on the filter gauge could hint on possible skimmer basket or pump strainer clogging.
If you proceed to clean these components, and the low readings persist, it’s likely the pump impeller is wearing out, which can lead to gradual pump failure.
2. Constant Leaking
You’ve seen some handy ways you of checking for leaks in the pump system, but even after thorough inspection for the same, water continues to drip from the unit.
Persistent leaking may indicate that the motor shaft’s seal is worn out, inhibiting pump performance.
3. Constantly Losing Prime
You may have conducted multiple forms of pump troubleshooting, but it’s still losing suction constantly.
In such a case, your pump has probably exhausted its utility. You may need to replace it.
Problems such as pump leaks, failure to move water, noisy running, sucking in air, and inadvertent shut-offs can inhibit pool pump performance.
Most of these issues are easy to troubleshoot and even fix, but there are no guarantees that the problems will cease.
If your pool pump continues to leak constantly, record low-pressure readings, and persist in losing prime, then it’s likely nearing its end of life, and may require replacement.